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Bridal Fitness on Paper - Zumba Fitness Monday, June 25, 2012 ~ 11:00 a.m.

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! Did anyone attend their first (official) summer wedding of the season? Well, I didn't, but I did have a pretty eventful weekend. My husband and I both got new cars! We have actually been looking around for a new car for my husband for a couple of weeks now, and we had originally planned to get him one first, and then wait and get me a new car within the next year or so. Well...I fell in love with one, too. It sounds totally nuts, but we both got new cars in the same day! Crazy. In our defense though, we did get a great deal since we were buying two. I drove mine right off the lot (a new Acura MDX midsize SUV - white with tan leather interior), and they ordered my husband's (a new Acura TL midsize sedan - gray inside and out), so he should be getting his new car in another week or two. Here's a picture of mine!


Acura MDX

Ain't she pretty??? :) I have never named my cars in the past, but I love this one so much, that I'm feeling the sudden urge to do so this time! I'm seriously looking forward to doing my errands today, just so I can drive around in my new car; I'm such a nerd. Anyway, sorry! Enough of my bragging.


You may (or may not) know that I have been writing my Bridal Fitness blog series for about a year now, and so it may come as a surprise when I say that I have never reviewed Zumba Fitness before! Until now. With it's huge surge in popularity, I know that I'm a little bit late getting on the Zumba train now, but better late than never, right?! I think the reason that I hadn't tried it until recently is because I was worried that it wouldn't be challenging enough for me to do on a regular basis. Well, I was sort of right. Don't get me wrong; it's super fun and I enjoyed it, but I don't think that it presents enough of a challenge for me, personally, to warrant doing it on a weekly basis. For me, it's a great workout for when I'm in the mood to dance or when I just want to do something a little bit out of the ordinary.


Well, what do you guys think of Zumba Fitness? Have you tried Zumba yet? I've only done the at-home DVD...has anyone taken a Zumba Fitness class? I'm sure it's a completely different experience, dancing along with a big group of people, with the music and microphones pumping you up! We'd all love to hear what you guys think!


Zumba Fitness Review

Bridal Fitness Review - Zumba Fitness Cardio Dance Party and Abs

Overall: Three and a half diamond ring rating for bridal fitness exercise reviews
3.5 out of 5 diamonds
When embraced for what it is, Zumba Fitness is a light, fun workout!

This review will focus specifically on the Zumba Fitness Cardio Party Workout and the Zumba Fitness Flat Abs Workout videos, as part of the Zumba Fitness Total Transformation System DVD set. I personally like doing these two videos together, so that's why I'm choosing to review them both at the same time! To sum it up, Zumba is designed to get you up and moving - you're working out, without feeling like you're actually working out. The workout is based in Latin dance, mixing together a little bit of Merengue, Salsa, Samba, Reggae and more. The lighthearted, fun dance moves makes it ideal for anyone who absolutely hates hitting the gym, gets bored easily, or if you just want to try something different for fun once in a while (like me!).


You can probably guess that Zumba is not super challenging. You don't finish it feeling like you went for a run, completed P90X or anything extreme like that. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how challenging it actually was by the end! I was sweating, but energized, and you can't help but be put in a better mood by the end with all of the dancing - even if you don't think you're particularly good at it. I struggled on whether to give Zumba Cardio Party and Abs a 3.5 or 4 ring rating, simply because on one hand, if you embrace it for what it is and don't go in expecting too much intensity, you'll be pleasantly surprised. On the other hand, when I objectively compare it to all of the other home DVD workouts that I've reviewed in the past, Zumba is not the kind of thing I would recommend doing every day to lose a bunch of weight.


Cost & Equipment: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
This DVD set is a bit pricey as a whole, but the Cardio Party and Abs workout videos, in particular, require NO additional equipment.

The entire Zumba Fitness Total Transformation System consists of four DVDs with workouts: Zumba Fitness Basics Workout, Zumba Fitness 20-Minute Express Workout, Zumba Fitness Sculpt and Tone Workout, Zumba Fitness Cardio Party Workout, Zumba Fitness Live! Workout, and Zumba Fitness Flat Abs Workout, along with two "toning sticks." A brand new set will put you back about $150, which is definitely a good chunk of money to spend on your physical fitness all at once. However, if you like to dance, and you think that it will get you moving when you otherwise wouldn't move, I say go for it!


Time Commitment: Four diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
4 out of 5 diamonds
Coming in at just over an hour to complete both the Cardio Party and the abs workout, Zumba doesn't require a huge time commitment.

The Zumba Cardio Party is about 45 minutes in length, and is divided into eight dance segments, each one focusing on a different Latin style of dance - a Merengue hip hop warm-up, Salsa, Cumbia, American Mix, Reggaeton/Salsa, Samba, Quebradita and Calypso. Each dance segment is about 5 minutes long, and the video runs continuously, with little to no breaks in between. The workout moves along pretty quickly, with little repetition, so it's pretty hard to get bored while doing it. My only complaint is that the video could probably be shaved down to 30 minutes and obtain the same result if it was just a bit more challenging, but that's just my personal opinion!


The Zumba Fitness Flat Abs Workout is a shorter video at about 17, 18 minutes in length. The video includes a brief 2 minute warm-up and finishing cool down, with a few 5 minute dance segments featuring reggae and pop dance moves. This workout has a great cardio element to it and you never get down on the floor for any ab work, so you'll move through it pretty quickly.

Level of Difficulty: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
This is not a really challenging workout, which is probably my biggest complaint about Zumba Fitness.

Like I said earlier, if you purchase and begin the Zumba Fitness program knowing what to expect, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how tired you'll be by the end of your workout each day. However, if you workout a lot like me, and you try Zumba thinking that it can replace one of your other regular gym workouts, you'll probably be disappointed. I like doing Zumba Fitness on the weekends since I do most of my exercising during the week. It's a nice, light workout to do when you want to get moving and off the couch on a lazy Sunday, but you don't necessarily need to go all-out like you do during the week. However, if you don't workout regularly, you probably will find Zumba Fitness to be more challenging. After completing both the Cardio Party and Abs videos in succession and moving for about an hour straight, I felt good! I had a good sweat going, but I wasn't exhausted, by any means.


Beyond how hard the workout actually is, another element of difficulty you should consider with Zumba is figuring out the dance steps! I used to dance as a kid, so I like to think that I am capable of picking up steps somewhat easily. However, I have to admit that there were definitely some styles of dance (Samba) and steps that I had some difficulty with! The trick though, is to always keep moving. ("Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!" Sorry, I just watched Nemo again this weekend :) It's a workout, so as long as you keep moving your butt, getting the steps exactly right really doesn't matter all that much. Just be sure not to get too caught up in the exact movements, or you won't get the workout that you're supposed to get. Another item of note is that because Zumba is based in Latin dance, it requires a lot of hip movements, as well, which can be a little tough for me, personally, because I deal with some chronic hip pain.


Effectiveness: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
Like most workouts, how effective Zumba can be really depends on your current activity level.

Zumba's level of effectiveness really is going to depend on how active you were to begin with. If you're a beginner, Zumba is going to be a good, tough workout for you. If you run 3 miles a day, probably not so much. However, if you embrace Zumba whole heartedly, you'll enjoy doing it regardless of your fitness level. I mean, it's dancing! How can you not??? I will say that I would recommend doing Zumba for the first time by yourself. I tried doing it while my husband was around, and I just didn't get as into it as I should have. I felt like a goof! When I tried it again during the week while Dale was at work though, I think that I got a lot more out of it.


While completing the Cardio Dance Party, specifically, I felt like I was mostly using my legs to jump, bounce and squat, and my abs to sway, twist and bop! Out of all of the dance segments, I found the American, Reggaeton/Salsa, Quebradita and Calypso to be the most challenging because they required more jumping and moving than the other dance styles. However, I think that these were also the funnest dance moves, so I really didn't mind the extra challenge! Zumba Dance Party does a good job of keeping your heart rate at a slightly elevated level throughout its 45 minute duration; I would compare it to walking at a brisk pace around your neighborhood for 45 minutes; you may hit a hill or two, but it's a pretty steady workout for the most part.


The Zumba Fitness Abs video is similar in difficulty to Cardio Dance Party, only it's shorter, and there's obviously a strong focus on working your core. There's a light cardio base to it, which is impressive when you compare it to most ab videos, which have you laying on the floor at least half the time. You're still moving around a lot, only this video has more standing knee lifts and crunches, in addition to the typical hip movements you'll find in any Zumba Latin dance workout. I was actually very happy with how my abs felt by the end of this workout, in particular. I definitely felt the burn in my abs! You have to be careful to make sure you're always engaging your abs when doing the movements, but when done correctly, it can definitely help you tone your abdominals.


Enjoyability: Five diamond rings rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
5 out of 5 diamonds
As I'm sure you can guess, Zumba Fitness garners the highest score possible in enjoyability.

Zumba's greatest strength is its enjoyability. It's fun, lighthearted and it's not intimidating the way that many other workouts and fitness classes can be. At the end of the day, you're dancing! You may not get all of the moves and steps down perfectly, and you may feel like an idiot at certain parts (I know that I certainly did!), but if you don't take it too seriously and just keep moving and trying, you'll be fine. It really is hard to finish a Zumba workout without feeling good!




Bridal Fitness on Paper is a weekly blog series posted every Monday, where I share and review a wide variety of cardio and resistance training workouts, both inside the gym and out. Bridal Fitness on Paper is meant to help guide brides along their weight loss journey all the way to the altar and beyond! All of the reviews posted are based on my own experience; I am not a fitness or nutrition professional. If you're curious about a specific workout, and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.


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1 Comment


Adrienne O'Connor, Ruffles & Tweed (New York)

Jun 25, 2012 2:41 PM

Zumba is totally different when you do it in a class environment, and if you find the right instructor, it can be very challenging and effective. I've been to really bad classes and amazing classes - it all depends, you just have to test it out, but it's definitely worth trying!